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Communion Meditations (2013)

Simplicity

Originally scheduled for May 12

Any modern writer will tell you of the frustration that now faces writers in the electronic age. It is not sufficient to put your thoughts into words; the words must be put into electronic form.

·         If you want to be available in the format known as “e- book”, you need to be prepared for the fact that there are at least 15 different formats of e-book. Each one has its little eccentricities; each one is sold in a variety of different places. Each one is usable only on a limited number of devices. If you want your e-book to sell at a good pace, you need to accommodate everyone.

·         Even if you just want to put your material on the Internet, you have the problem of multiple browsers. There are at least four main varieties of browser, with hundreds of variations on these. Any particular browser may also have several different versions in the hands of users at any given time. The code on your website must be capable of being properly displayed on each and every one of these.

·         All of that assumes that you are dealing only with able-bodied human beings. But some people have poor eyesight; others have trouble using the keyboard and there are a variety of other disabilities. There are various standards which have been set up to accommodate this; they are not easy things to do.

The frustration of dealing with all this is sometimes sufficient to tell the author simply put the words on paper. But what size paper? What kind of binding? Color covers, or black and white?

Those are just the technical difficulties. A storyteller will tell you that just the language itself has a similar set of problems. What level of vocabulary do you want to use? What kinds of stories and images do you want to tell? Even if you restrict yourself to one language you have the conflicting demands of simplicity and precision. If you stick with simplicity only, everything begins with “Run, Spot, run.” If you want to be terribly precise, your reader is going to need a doctorate level education. To be a successful storyteller you need to be able to put things simply without losing any of the meaning.

In a very real sense Communion achieves that. The symbols we use in communion — the bread and the cup — are simple, ordinary things. They have straightforward meanings: the body and blood of Christ. As a result, the meaning of communion comes through quite clearly; you don’t need a doctorate in theology to understand the Cross.

The story is simple: Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, bled and died — his blood and body sacrificed for you — so that you might be forgiven of your sins and inherit eternal life. Any storyteller would recognize this as a story well worth the telling, and therefore well worth the listening. Indeed, it is the greatest story ever told. The storyteller knows that a good story is worth repeating. Its lessons are always of interest. So it is that each week we take the body and the blood of Christ to remind ourselves that we are sinners, saved by grace given at the Cross.

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